A Never-Failing Passport for our Prayers

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This weekend, Redeeming Grace Church heard a wonderful message from Hebrews 4:14-16.

I was so encouraged in my soul, listening to the qualifications of Jesus as our Great High Priest.

Dave Odom shared a very helpful illustration about passing through customs as he has traveled on international flights. For all of us who have traveled internationally, we know that the only thing that grants us access through customs into another country is our passport.

It is our passport that grants us the credentials by which we can come through customs into another country.

The amazing reality for every believer is that the credentials of Jesus allow us to pass through into the presence of God. If you come on the qualifications of Jesus and Jesus alone, God invites you into His presence.

Jesus is qualified as our Great High Priest, and we are welcome into the presence of God, through him.

I never tire of hearing this.

As Dave preached, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes from JC Ryle, 19th century Anglican pastor, who has become a favorite author of mine:

“There is a way by which any man, however sinful and unworthy, may draw near to God the Father. Jesus Christ has opened that way by the sacrifice he made for us upon the cross. The holiness and justice of God need not frighten sinners and keep them back. Only let them cry to God in the name of Jesus, only let them plead the atoning blood of Jesus, and they shall find God upon a throne of grace, willing and ready to hear. The name of Jesus is a never-failing passport for our prayers. In that name a man may draw near to God with boldness, and ask with confidence. God has engaged to hear him. Think of this. Is not this encouragement?” JC Ryle, A Call to Prayer

A never-failing passport for our prayers. That’s who Jesus is, for us. He has opened the way to the throne of grace, and we can come to God to receive mercy and grace, through him.

Oh, Yes, this is encouragement!

God’s “Shalls” and “Wills” – There is Nothing Comparable to Them

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Last week, I had the privilege of preaching from Matthew 1:18-23 to the people I love at Redeeming Grace Church.

We rejoiced in the truth that Jesus “will save his people from their sins.”

I shared one of my favorite quotes from the 19th Century Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, who was confident in God’s power and ability to save:

“Oh! I love God’s ‘shalls’ and ‘wills.’ There is nothing comparable to them. Let a man say ‘shall,’ what is it good for? ‘I will,’ says man, and he never performs; ‘I shall,’ says he, and he breaks his promise. But it is never so with God’s ‘shalls.’ If he says, ‘shall,’ it shall be; when he says, ‘will,’ it will be. Now He has said here, ‘many shall come.’ The devil says, ‘they shall not come’; but ‘they shall come’. You yourselves, say, ‘we won’t come’; God says, ‘You shall come’.

Yes! There are some here who are laughing at salvation, who can scoff at Christ, and mock at the gospel; but I tell you some of you shall come yet. ‘What!’ you say, ‘can God make me become a Christian?’ I tell you yes, for herein rests the power of the gospel. It does not ask your consent; but it gets it. It does not say, will you have it, but it makes you willing in the day of God’s power…

The gospel wants not your consent, it gets it. It knocks the enmity out of your heart. You say, ‘I do not want to be saved;’ Christ says you shall be. He makes your will turn round, and then you cry, ‘Lord, save, or I perish.’ Ah, might heaven exclaim, ‘I knew I would make you say that;’ and then he rejoices over you because he has changed your will and made you willing in the day of his power.” Charles Spurgeon

Matthew Henry served us, as well:

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“Behold in this the deepest mystery and the richest mercy that ever was! By the light of nature, we see God as a God above us; by the light of the law, we see him as a God against us; but by the light of the gospel, we see him as Immanuel, God with us, in our own nature, and (which is more) in our interest.” Matthew Henry

God with us. God for us. God in our own interest. God coming to save us. That’s what we have in Christ.

Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS!

He Will Replenish Us

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I don’t know about you, but I often feel weary and depleted. It seems my tank runs dry quickly, and I’m in constant need of replenishment.

I’m learning to turn my weariness into worship and marvel at the One who never faints or grows weary.

Our God is never depleted

God is not capable of being depleted. His energy never runs low. He never feels the way we do when we’re tired and exhausted and worn out. He has all-power. That’s a reason to worship Him.

I’m also learning that it is at the very point of my own personal weakness that God meets me with His strength.

Our culture praises the strong, the powerful, the influential, the popular, the celebrities, the dominant, the prominent, the talented, the beautiful, the successful, the wealthy, the impressive, and the elite.

Our God draws near to the weak.

We can freely admit our need, and He will replenish us

We can aim to be impressive in the eyes of the watching world, or we can admit our failures, our faults, our frailties, and our fallenness, and trust in the faithfulness of God to fulfill His promises to give power and strength to the weary and the weak:

“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish” (Jeremiah 31:25).

We don’t need to be powerful in the eyes of men; we just need to positioned to receive God’s strength. In the midst of our weaknesses, He is strong.

He has said,

“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

We can stop trying to be strong and all-sufficient. We can freely admit that we are weak and depleted. We can trust, this day, that He will replenish us with His strength.

Richard Sibbes has said it so well:

“As a mother is tenderest to the most diseased and weakest child, so does Christ most mercifully incline to the weakest. Likewise he puts an instinct into the weakest things to rely upon something stronger than themselves for support. The vine stays itself upon the elm, and the weakest creatures often have the strongest shelters… The God who dwells in the highest heavens dwells likewise in the lowest soul. Christ’s sheep are weak sheep, and lacking in something or other; he therefore applies himself to the necessities of every sheep. He seeks that which was lost, and brings again that which was driven out of the way, and binds up that which was broken, and strengthens the weak. His tenderest care is over the weakest.” (The Bruised Reed, p. 10; 14, emphasis mine).

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